|Trainer's Guide for Training of Elected Officials (HABITAT)|
Training for Elected Leadership Series
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements
Training Materials Series
ISBN for complete set of 13 volumes: 92-1-131242-6
ISBN for this volume: 92-1-131243-4
As shown by the results of training needs assessments conducted by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), training needs of local-government elected officials (councillors), or of local politicians, appear among the most urgent worldwide and, at the same time, the least attended areas of capacity-building for local development and municipal management.
In the last few years, a number of countries as varied as Nepal and Poland or Uganda and Paraguay have embarked for the first time in several decades, and in some cases for the first time ever, on a process of electing their councillors and mayors. Training needs of local-government elected officials are also at the top of the agenda in established municipal democracies such as Ecuador, India, and the United States of America.
To respond to these needs, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) has developed and tested a series of training handbooks to assist councillors to represent the citizens, provide civic leadership and effectively work with central government and with the management, technical and professional staff in local authorities and other local institutions. The handbooks cover policy and decision-making, communication, negotiation and leadership, attending, managing and conducting meetings, councillors' enabling and facilitating activities, financial management and other related needs. Each handbook is intended for use primarily by trainers in national training institutions for local government or training units within local governments themselves.
As further assistance for trainers using these handbooks, the Centre has published this companion, Trainer's Guide for Training of Elected Officials, containing trainer's notes and information prepared exclusively for the benefit of these trainers in planning workshops for local elected officials based on the handbooks.
It is expected that this trainer's guide will contribute greatly to strengthening the capacity of local governments through the introduction of good leadership practices, one of the major objectives of the 1996 United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, Habitat II.
I wish to thank Dr. Fred Fisher and Mr. David W. Tees for preparing this and other handbooks in the series in collaboration with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) Training Section within the Centre's training programmes supported by the Government of the Netherlands. I also wish to acknowledge the contribution of the trainers and local-government officials in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Kenya, Lithuania, Romania and Uganda who assisted in the fieldtesting of these training materials.
Dr. Wally N'Dow
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements
Training local elected officials may be the most important thing you, as a trainer, do in the next few years. Local governments have been "discovered." Central government officials in many countries around the world are recognizing that they can no longer "manage" human settlement development and service delivery from several hundred kilometres away. External support agencies are also recognizing the key role that local governments can play in the development of human settlements and the delivery of programmes and services to their constituents.
The role of local governments is changing, and will continue to change, as the economic, social, and environmental problems they face continue to grow. Most local governments do not have the funds or resources to solve these problems in any effective way, and different strategies must be found. Increasingly, local governments will be called upon to perform enabling, facilitating, and empowering roles if their constituents are to have access to the kinds of programmes and services they want and need. This means that other stakeholders, such as the private sector and non-governmental organizations, will be called upon to work in service delivery arenas that have traditionally been the purview of government. This doesn't deny local-government involvement in these service areas. It does, nevertheless, change the roles that local governments perform, from direct provider to those of stimulator, enabler, and perhaps regulator to assure that the products and services meet pre-determined standards.
The increasing emphasis on local government as the focal point for locality development, and the changing roles of these governments in fulfilling that growing mandate, puts a heavy burden on their elected officials and staff. Not only do local elected officials and staff need to be knowledgeable about an increasingly complex set of interrelated issues, they must also develop new skills and attitudes in response to the changing nature of their role. Consequently, the need to provide training and development opportunities for local-government elected and appointed officials has never been greater.
Training institutions, if they are to help local elected officials make the transition to a new level of competence and altered view of public service, will also need to change. This Trainers Guide and the accompanying 12 handbooks are designed to help trainers meet the elected official's training challenge.
Before we concern ourselves with how to use these materials, let's spend a few moments discussing learning requirements that are not covered in this guide. It is impossible in a document of this kind to cover the various rules, regulations, standing orders, and other legislative mandates that regulate the behaviour of councillors and their legislative forums. First, they differ from country to country. Secondly, they are subject to frequent changes. These learning needs are clearly important but the development of training materials to address them must remain a national responsibility. While we cannot provide the text for such training, we can suggest ways to make the delivery of this kind of training more effective.
Most of the training concerns just mentioned relate to what the councillor is required to know, initially, to perform his or her role within the legislated boundaries of the position (as contrasted with developing or improving skills and changing attitudes and values). There are many ways to facilitate and support this kind of learning, including (a) newsletters, (b) short one-day briefings reinforced by take-away fact sheets, (c) use of the public media, including radio, television, and newspapers, and (d) the dissemination of audio and video tapes, if the technology is available to local governments.
What councillors are required to know to abide by laws, rules, and regulations laid down over decades is often difficult to grasp in anything but short, quickly administered doses. Your approach to helping councillors acquire this knowledge should take this factor into consideration. For example, the essential "do's" and "don'ts" of council behaviour, if printed on a small card that fits in the shirt pocket, would probably win rave reviews for the training institution if sent to new councillors, along with a note of congratulations. There are many ways to reach the elected official with information of this kind. If you run out of ideas, we suggest you call a meeting of local media and public relations specialists to help you define an appropriate and effective strategy.
Unfortunately, the kind of information we've been discussing does little to prepare the councillor to be an effective elected leader. The legislated boundaries of the elected role are more apt to say what the elected official cannot do rather than what he or she can do to be responsive to a rapidly changing environment. We're not suggesting that the councillor shouldn't know these aspects of the role. They are important and should be included in training for local elected officials. But there is much more to becoming a competent councillor, and that's what this guide and the related training materials are all about.
These elected leader training materials do not include information about the legal and administrative rules and regulations specific to your country. Nor do they include technical information about the many challenges that face local governments. For example, there are no explanations of the various approaches to human settlements development, how to construct a sanitary landfill, the pros and cons of different approaches to primary health care, or strategies for local economic development. While these issues are important, they are not covered in these training materials.
This does not deny the discussion of such issues in the training we are recommending. In fact, we encourage you to "wrap" the training being done around substantive issues that your elected training participants are grappling with at the time. We will have more to say about how to do this later in the guide. For now, we just want to be clear about what is not included in this guide and the accompanying training handbooks.
While this guide is not necessary to conduct councillor training using the accompanying handbooks, it should be useful. Each handbook includes training exercises to conduct several hours of experiential learning on the role covered in the essay. You could conduct successful training events by relying solely on the materials in the back of each handbook. But we think you can make better use of the accompanying materials if you consider some of the ideas we are about to share. Given the training exercises in each handbook, and in this guide, we hope you can become self-sufficient in your role as a trainer of elected officials.
These materials are designed to provide you with many options in your efforts to train local elected officials. Here are a few examples.
1. Time options
You could offer training programmes that last from an hour to three weeks, using the materials available in the back of each handbook. We don't recommend these extremes, but they are possible. More logical time frames include half- and full-day sessions on each of the roles, although some participants in the field test of the materials suggested offering two full days on some of the roles. We have included more exercises than you will ever need to cover each of the roles, but we wanted you to have options to select from.
For example, you could conduct a two-week workshop; two one-week workshops; several one- or two-day workshops; or a series of half-day sessions each Friday afternoon if you have enough councillors in an area where this approach would be convenient. Your selection from among these options will depend on several factors, including the time councillors have available for training and what you want to accomplish during that time.
2. Presentation options
Your opportunities to develop more competent elected councillors should not be limited to holding workshops of the kind suggested above. For example, you could make a presentation at the annual local-government conference on the various roles performed by councillors. This would be an opportunity to promote the training and to enlighten the audience about new ways to think about roles that elected leaders can perform. Or you and your training colleagues could conduct several concurrent sessions, each discussing a different role as covered in the handbooks. Conference attendees could go to the session of their choice. Or you might decide to feature these roles in articles in the monthly local-government journal (if you have one) or a series of newsletters highlighting some of the points made in the essays, using examples from local experiences. The handbook essays provide lots of ideas to help you develop this kind of written dialogue with your elected constituents. But we believe that significant learning is best achieved when you provide an opportunity for councillors to come together for a lively discussion of these ideas.
The essays have been written to be used for home study by councillors who are eager to expand their knowledge and understanding of the various roles. If there are enough councillors in a geographic area who have taken this approach, your training institution can make this kind of self-study more interesting and effective by working with them on an occasional basis. For example, these self-starting councillors, who have opted for self-study, could be brought together on several weekends to discuss what they have read or to carry out group exercises under your direction and guidance.
3. CIientele options
There are also options regarding who you train at any one time. We've just mentioned one option. Depending on a variety of factors, you might want to conduct training sessions that include only council presidents and the chairpersons of key committees, divide participants by region or size of the jurisdictions they represent, or include only women. You may have a council that wants to do "in-house" training that includes only their own members and perhaps key members of their staff They may see the training as a way to prepare the council and staff for a more intensive strategic planning process. We would encourage you to work with councils that want to exploit training to achieve these kinds of outcomes.
Another possibility is to hold training sessions for councillors from contiguous jurisdictions who need to work more closely together to solve regional problems. Training could provide a less threatening environment in which to get better acquainted after which they might opt to discuss more substantive issues. The options available for using these materials to train councillors are limited only by your imagination.
The training of elected councillors will be successful to the extent it meets their needs and takes into consideration their time and other resource constraints. In the current-day jargon of the discipline, we're talking about client-centred, demand driven, and performance-based training. Let's spend just a few moments discussing these terms.
First, it could be argued that these training materials are not client-centred because they are based on certain assumptions that may not hold true from one country to another or from one councillor to another. While this is true, the materials are based on numerous discussions with councillors from many countries and a review of dozens of documents that describe the kinds of concerns local-government officials have about their ability to be effective in responding to their constituents' needs.
Elected leadership requires skills and competence in putting those skills to use in highly complex, politicized environments. It is no longer sufficient merely to adhere to the laws that circumscribe the official position of the councillor. The councillor must be able to achieve results, in the vernacular of "be able to get things done." When we started to ask ourselves and others what councillors should be able to do to be successful in their positions, we kept hearing terms like "communicate," "make decisions," "enable others to share the responsibility," "use their power more responsibly," and more.
This guide and the accompanying handbooks are based on the assumption that elected leadership requires skills and competences in a number of roles. In your efforts to be more client-centred and demand-driven, we suggest that you meet with a representative group of your local, elected-councillor constituents before you decide to launch a programme using these materials. Among other things, what you would be exploring with this group is whether they believe these training materials, which are role- and skill-development oriented, will meet some of their training needs. This is also an opportunity to discuss delivery alternatives to determine how the training might be implemented with best results. For example, where would they like to see the training workshops held, in what time configurations, and when?
If the training is to be performance-based, you will need to determine what kind of performance improvements the council is hoping to achieve. While this may sound like a daunting task, it can be simplified by focusing on specific roles (such as policy maker) and determining how performance improvements in this role might be measured over time.
You are probably saying that this sounds like a training needs assessment (TNA). Yes and no. It is a TNA in the sense that you are validating certain assumptions about councillor training needs based on training materials already in hand. It is not a pure version of TNA since it doesn't begin with their interpretation of the performance gaps they are experiencing personally from which you can develop a training response.
How you go about this reconnaissance/confirmation process with councillors should be governed by local circumstances and norms. Out of these initial meetings should come an overall plan of action for conducting the training. This plan would cover such details as:
· who will be trained
· when they will be trained
· where they will be trained
· what UNCHS (Habitat) handbooks will be used in the training and in what sequence
· how the training will be conducted
· by whom the training will be conducted
The issues listed above are concerned more with logistics and process than substance. This reconnaissance phase of the elected leadership planning is also a time to collect ideas and incidents about specific problems the councils are experiencing. While case studies and critical incidents are included in most if not all of the handbooks, you should develop your own whenever possible based on local experience. Whenever you are meeting with elected officials, you can be gathering valuable data and ideas to incorporate into the training. For example, you might ask councillors if they have experienced any problems in getting policies adopted in their local authorities. This information might be incorporated into one of the exercises in the handbook on The Councillor as Policy-maker. Or you might probe for experiences councillors have had in working with the private sector and how they have mobilized this resource to achieve certain goals (i.e., the enabler role).
Each of the roles defined in the handbooks lends itself to the collection of rich anecdotes and case materials, based on real situations. For example, during the field test of these materials, the local paper carried a story about a conflict between two districts over the use of a bulldozer for road maintenance. This news article was used to develop a case study on conflict resolution for the workshop and adapted for inclusion in the handbook exercises.
Whenever possible, you and your training colleagues should substitute local cases, critical incidents, information, data, and experiences into the training exercises and presentations. Sometimes it is as easy as watching the local newspaper for stories about local governments and clipping these stories for later use.
There is a tendency to reject an example, case study, or other incident used in a training situation if it differs from our own experience. How often have you heard the expression, "That's interesting, but it isn't relevant." There is nothing that slows down the learning process faster than someone rejecting either the process or the content of the training you plan to use as irrelevant. Fortunately, this barrier can be avoided most of the time by collaborative forward planning with the people you hope to train.
Most guides of this kind tell you a specific number of ways to succeed as a trainer. We want to take a contrary view of this task and tell you ten ways you can fail when using these materials to train your elected officials. Success will come to those who turn these contrary ideas on their heads and do just the opposite of what has been suggested.
1. Don't bother to discuss the training with any elected officials before they come to the first workshop. After all, you're the training expert, and they are just your clients.
2. Plan to hold the training in places that are convenient for you and the other trainers. Don't worry about the trainees. They all have big travel budgets.
3. The same goes for when you hold the training. Your clients should be able to adjust their schedules if they are really interested in attending.
4. Don't waste your time checking out the training facilities before the workshop begins. Everyone knows it's the content of the training that counts.
5. The UNCHS (Habitat) materials are so complete it doesn't make any sense to review them prior to the workshop.
6. Stick to lectures as much as you can and don't bother to use small group exercises. They waste a lot of time and take up too much space.
7. If you feel you must use the exercises, start with the first one in the handbook and proceed with others in sequence until the time runs out, or you run out of exercises.
8. Don't make any changes in the exercises. The authors obviously knew what they were doing when they wrote them.
9. Always adhere to the amount of time the authors suggested for each exercise. Even if a learning event is going well, stop it when it's time to move to another topic or event.
10. Don't spend time on evaluations or follow up. The councillors will get in touch with you if they have any questions or want more training.
Your first reaction to these 10 avenues to failure may be that they are silly and have no place in a guide of this kind. Unfortunately, we have witnessed too many trainers who seem to worship this kind of negative advice. No doubt you have experienced these kinds of trainers also.
We suggest you take a moment or two and review these 10 ways to fail in relation to your own training institution's way of doing things. If any of the 10 reflect current practice or behaviour, maybe it's time to call a staff meeting to talk about them. In any event, we hope none of the actions listed above will seep into your efforts to train councillors.
There are other things we could say, generally, about how to use the materials in the 11 councillor-role-specific handbooks (handbooks 2-12), or how not to, but we suspect you have heard them before and are anxious to move on. In the next few pages we will discuss the workshop exercises as contained in the various handbooks and how you can use them more effectively in your efforts to train councillors.
As a trainer interested in conducting workshops for elected officials, you may be thinking, "So, what's left to prepare?" The 12 handbooks that make up the series on elected leadership are complete enough. They have been carefully designed by experienced trainers, have they not? Isn't it true that each handbook has been field-tested and subsequently revised based on thorough participant review? Well then, what's left to be done other than carefully follow the script - do the training exactly as intended by UNCHS (Habitat) and the authors of this series?
Wait a minute! There is a bit more to conducting a successful training workshop than being able to read a script. Workshops don't just happen. Planning and preparation are necessary to ensure that everything needed to conduct a successful workshop (space, facilities, equipment, handout materials) are there when participants arrive.
In Part II of this guide, we discuss many things that you will need to know as you make preparations for a workshop based on materials contained in one or more of the handbooks in the Elected Leadership series. Included are such things as meeting the client's expectations, location and physical facilities, training equipment, participant materials, and so forth, and important skills needed by the trainer as workshop designer.
Part III of the guide reviews the various types of training exercises (case studies, role plays, instruments, and so forth) that can be found in the 12 workshop designs, what contribution each is designed to make to workshop goals, and how you can use each of them with the greatest possible effectiveness.
In Part IV of the guide we turn attention to the actual on-site delivery of training and some practical techniques that, when used as suggested, can make a profound difference in the outcome of a workshop.
Finally, in Part V we present workshop scoring keys, and other materials that you will need are conveniently cross-referenced by workshop and exercise.
At the risk of repeating some of what you read in Part I of this guide, we want to review several factors that will be important to you in preparing to train councillors in one or more of the subjects included in the 12 handbooks on Training for Elected Leadership.
1. Participant expectations
Perhaps the most important factor in ensuring the success of a workshop is to narrow the expectation gap between yourself as the trainer and the workshop participants. The subject matter shown in the handbooks is far more likely to be effective if the participants who come to a workshop know ahead of time what they will be learning and the process to be used to facilitate their learning. For example, you might develop a training calendar and circulate brochures to client organizations announcing the training and when workshops on various topics will be available, their length, and location. Or you might negotiate a contract individually with one or more local authorities on topics of specific interest to their councillors. Individual training contracts allow the trainer and the client organization to be much more explicit about training content and scheduling. In any case, it is important that information on training content and approaches is specified beforehand so that participants know the learning opportunities being made available to them.
2. Duration and timing
The number of workshops to be conducted, their duration, and the sequencing and timing of training events (exercises) depend on a number of considerations. Elected leadership training that is scheduled as a single programme (e.g., seven to 10 days in length) for participants from many organizations gives the trainer considerable control over content and schedule. A two-day or weekend programme presents the trainer with a different design and scheduling problem. This is particularly true when the training programme is for a group of councillors from the same organization. Programmes to be conducted over one or two days would mean omitting some of the topics (handbooks) and including others, or it might mean choosing to omit some exercises, shorten them, or substitute new exercises in order to cover more of the topics in less time. While considerable flexibility in the use of training materials included in this series is recommended, the trainer should be particularly careful to include enough time for participants to process the information being covered in one exercise fully before moving on to the next.
3. Location and physical facilities
It is important to create an environment that supports learning, one that removes participants from everyday distractions and encourages them to consider new ways of thinking and acting in their various councillor roles. It would be unwise, for example, to conduct a workshop in the facility where a council holds its meetings. In fact, training for elected leaders is best done outside the community in which they serve It is often possible in a remote setting to capitalize on the development of norms of openness, sharing, and experimentation with new ways of thinking and acting. Being away can encourage councillors to be genuinely resourceful to one another, particularly during free time periods.
Physical facilities are critically important. Normally, the trainer will want to ensure meeting privacy, movable furniture, and adequate space for several small groups to meet concurrently. Auditoriums and large, open buildings are usually not flexible enough and lack the intimacy needed for effective group interraction. On the other hand, a recreation building or school or educational facility might be quite suitable. Of course, most training institutions have facilities that are designed and equipped with the learning requirements of participants in mind, and these should be used whenever possible. It is also important to arrange things so that participants are not interrupted by nonparticipants, telephone calls or other annoyances during training sessions.
4. Equipment and training aids
You need to have access to materials and equipment that can be transported easily or can be relied upon to be available at the training site. Essential items of equipment include flipcharts, easels, numerous pads and markers, and an overhead projector or other audio-visual equipment as presentation aides. Be sure that equipment is in good working order and that spare parts are on hand in the event of a breakdown. Participant handout materials including instruments, questionnaires, checklists and worksheets, particularly those that require extensive assembly, should be prepared in advance. Of course, it is useful to have access to duplicating equipment at the training site. Many trainers who want to compile data on site are taking advantage of the convenience and portability of computers, sometimes equipped with communication devices (modems) and supported by fast printers.
5. Participant experience
The use of warm-up exercises, sometimes called "ice-breakers," will vary depending on the familiarity of councillors with one another and their experience as participants in interactive training programmes such as this one. These activities are intended to speed up the process of getting acquainted while exposing participants to the training methods being used. If may be possible for you to exclude warm-up exercises when participants have served together on the same council or have participated with one another in other workshops of this kind. On the other hand, sometimes participants know one another but there is an unequal acquaintance ship within the group (e.g., councillors from rural areas mixed with councillors from large cities). In preparing for a workshop, you will want to take into account any natural groupings of participants based on social acquaintance outside the training. This information can be useful to you in assigning participants to small groups and in selecting activities for beginning and closing the workshop.
Whether or not participants are experienced with interactive types of training and have taken part in such training before is important. Some participants may have taken part in other workshops in this series or other training events similar to the one being planned. Knowing the training background of participants ahead of time can have a bearing during workshop design on pacing the programme. It can be of help to you during the workshop in selecting small group leaders and asking participants to volunteer for a presentation of their reactions to a new concept or observations about the value of a particular learning experience.
6. Numbers of participants
A reasonable question for you to be asking at this point: What is the limit on how many participants can take part in a workshop on elected leadership? This question is important for a couple of reasons. First, there may be an implied maximum participant number beyond which the workshop is not feasible. Not so. Any number of participants can take part. The issue is to be able to anticipate how many there will be far enough in advance to prepare adequately. For example, a single trainer might be able to work effectively with a group of up to 30 in size (although we recommend co-trainers, even for groups of less than 30, particularly if several half-day or day-long workshops are to be conducted in sequence). As a general rule, should the participant group exceed 30, additional trainers will be needed. As you can see, the number of participants who can be handled is limited only by space and the number of trained trainers available.
The participant count is important for another reason. In preparing for a workshop, the number of people to anticipate will affect the amount of space needed and the number of small group meeting rooms that must be available. Numbers will determine the number and copies of handout materials that must be prepared and equipment that must be available in each meeting room for processing of data. Finally, numbers will have an influence on the number of training institution staff who will be needed to handle registration and other administrative or logistical matters before, during, and at the close of a workshop. The size of the task will depend, of course, on the extent that the training unit is involved with the housing and transportation of participants.
7. Follow through
When developing a plan for a workshop or workshop series, it is important to know beforehand what is going to happen when the programme is over, that is, how much and what kind of follow-through will you be doing with the workshop participants. As you know, each workshop concludes with an exercise designed to encourage participants to apply what they have learned to their present challenges as elected leaders. When the programme is attended by a large number of councillors from many local authorities, completion of this exercise may be the only practical way to encourage learning transfer.
With smaller groups of councillors who work together or who serve in neighbouring communities, it may be possible to do more. For example, you may be able to offer trainer-facilitated follow-up meetings within a few weeks or months to discuss participant experiences in using workshop [earnings and how to overcome transfer obstacles confronting them. Or councillors with past successes in using workshop materials might be asked to volunteer to serve as guides and mentors to less experienced councillors who are ready and willing to accept their help.
In summary, before developing a design for a particular workshop or workshop series, you will want to explore what you have to work with in relation to time, training staff, space, money, and materials. Careful consideration of all these factors will help you decide if the programme can be carried out successfully. If not, you may want to rethink the design, renegotiate the contract, adjust the fee schedule, or find additional financing for the programme.
In this section we will be discussing some general considerations to guide you in customizing the councillor training you do based on the general workshop designs contained in the 12 handbooks on Training for Elected Leadership.
1. Keep them busy
In designing a workshop for councillors it is important to avoid having a passive group of participants. Have something for them to do all the time. In a presentation, stress that they work hard at being active listeners. In an exercise, be sure that each participant has something to do or think about that contributes to his or her own development within that particular council role. In other words, make it clear that each workshop participant is responsible for managing his or her own learning and, then, give them ample opportunity to act out that responsibility through participation.
2. Balance and sequencing
The arrangement of exercises and presentation should proceed naturally from the more known to the less known, from the less complex to the more complex, from the less interactive to the more interactive. Moreover, every component of the workshop should contribute to the attainment of workshop goals. Even the tea breaks, meals, and free times should be placed strategically in anticipation of subsequent exercises (e.g., schedule an intensive, highly interactive group exercise immediately after a meal to avoid the mental and physical sluggishness that could accompany a presentation). It is important also to have the same theme running throughout all the components of a workshop as a basis for learning continuity. The various workshops that make up the 12 handbooks are designed with learning continuity in mind.
Every effort possible has been made to provide councillor-relevent materials in the various handbooks. This is vital inasmuch as the content of a workshop will have genuine learning value only to the extent that it parallels the kinds of leadership concerns and problems that councillors ordinarily face in their work. As an aim in furthering the relevancy of these materials, several of the exercises have been designed to gather on-the-spot data from councillors about their own experiences. Participants, in several instances, are asked to pair up or, in small groups, to gather data about a topic central to the workshop. These concerns may be compiled on a sheet of newsprint and even rank ordered according to urgency, importance, or other considerations. In several instances, participants are asked to perform independent rank ordering, establish their own points of view, and then, in small groups, to develop a consensus ranking of the material. Questionnaires employing checklists, rating scales, and open-ended questions are used to gather individual data for comparison with small group and even total group results. You can take advantage of these data collection devices to help participants process data and to take responsibility for analysing the results, perhaps as a group self-portrait.
As mentioned previously, it is imperative that everything possible be done to encourage the transfer of learning from the workshop environment to the realworld working life of councillors. Processing is an important key to successful learning transfer. By processing we are referring to efforts made to talk through and interpret data arising from a training event. It is imperative that you as a trainer provide sufficient opportunity for participants to sort out and share reactions to what they have been experiencing. This cannot be overemphasized. Processing data can be encouraged in several ways:
· You can use observers to report on the process or outcome of an exercise.
· You can ask participants to serve as consultants to one another to stimulate thinking and problem solving.
· You can divide the participant group into several smaller groups for rapid processing of data and structured so that reporters give a brief synopsis to the total group of what occurred during the small group discussion.
· You can encourage back-home application by having participants contract with one another to do various things on return from the workshop, hopefully supported with planned follow-through as described earlier.
We have already stressed the importance of avoiding boredom and passivity by keeping people involved. On the other hand, you might design a workshop that moves at such breakneck speed that participants leave with an information overload. Time is needed during the workshop to give participants a chance to sort out what they have been learning. Free time is needed to give participants an escape from the heavy cognitive demands of the workshop.
At times things can begin to drag in a workshop. When this happens, you can point out your observation and ask for confirmation from participants. Sometimes a simple ventilation exercise (e.g., on a scale of one to five, with five being high and one being low, how do you feel about the way things are going right now?) is a useful way to get participant feedback on their feelings individually and as a group. In other words, the pace of events in a workshop should be dictated by evidence of fatigue or boredom, the necessity to provide plenty of time for processing data, and the need to get responsible and accurate feedback on the process from the participants themselves.
Each of the workshops in the series is introduced with an objective for the exercise. Achieving these objectives should guide you as you introduce and facilitate the various exercises that make up each of the workshops. It is also important to help participants clarify the relation between these stated objectives and their own reasons for wanting to master the content of a workshop.
An important trainer value is to stimulate participants to exercise more freedom in thought and action than may be customary for them. A demonstration of this value during the workshop is to avoid doing anything to force anyone to take part in any activity that would cause them to feel threatened or intimidated. This is particularly true if people are attending a workshop involuntarily or with strong reservations. It is important for you as the trainer to be sensitive to the feelings and needs of all participants and not to expect participants to involve themselves with equal enthusiasm in every single activity.
While each of the workshops in the handbook series has been designed so that it can be presented without modification, this does not mean that we intend them to be used this way. Quite the contrary. We want you to look for and consider any design modification that would cause the workshop to reflect more accurately the learning needs of a particular group of elected leaders. This is particularly true when you are asked to custom design workshops for councillors who serve on the same council, councillors who may have teamwork as one of their goals - learning how to get along better with each other. In other words, we want you to consider more than one design option for each workshop learning objective; in fact, we want you to view this as a personal goal anytime you are engaged in the design of training activities.
The design of a workshop on elected leadership, or on anything else for that matter, involves putting together exercises or other learning components sequenced to meet the objectives of the workshop and the needs of participants. The trainer's design challenge is shown below graphically. We have selected eight components for use in the series of workshops on Training for Elected Leadership. Our purpose in this section of the guide is to provide you with information on each of these learning components that will enable you to use them more effectively.
A training design model showing planned training activities in order of increasing participant involvement
The least involving form of learning is reading. When reading, participants are inclined to be in a reactive mode, receiving information passively and experiencing vicariously through the ideas of others. In the essays that comprise Part I of each handbook, we have provided readers with a way to make the experience of reading more proactive. By providing questions from time to time about ideas covered by the reading, we provoke readers to ask, "So what?" We want them to focus on situations in their own experiences as councillors similar to the ones described in the reading and to consider how what they have read might be applicable to certain aspects of their councillor role performance.
There are at least two ways that reading the essays can be used to promote councillor learning. In some instances, you might suggest the use of essay material as a substitute for participation in workshop training. For some councillors, reading about them may be as far as they are willing to go in exploring new role behaviours. For councillors who are ready to take part in workshop training, the essays can be promoted as pre-readings to provide these councillors with a conceptual framework and heighten their interest in a more intense, prolonged involvement with the subject.
Somewhat higher on the ladder of participant interaction is the presentation. You can take advantage of the essay material in each handbook to create your own presentations for furnishing information needed by workshop participants to carry out planned learning activities. You will find the presentation useful for explaining new concepts and subject-matter details and to stimulate critical thinking. Used in conjunction with other learning methods, your presentations will get workshop participants informed, involved, and comfortable with learning new things.
Presentations are more than just a way of presenting information. You can use them at the start of a workshop to establish a proper learning climate, promote interest in learning, and reduce participant anxiety. You may present information spontaneously at any point in the workshop to stimulate thought, introduce exercises, clarify or interpret a new concept, or test for comprehension. Finally, you can take advantage of presentations at the conclusion of a workshop to summarize important [earnings and encourage learning transfer.
Many trainers see the presentation only as a form of information delivery. Viewed from a broader perspective, the presentation is an opportunity for the trainer to get a group of participants involved in their own learning. This is more likely to happen when a presentation includes planned or spontaneous participant-involvement techniques such as the following:
· Ask participants to think about and discuss situations in their own work experiences that illustrate a concept you have just introduced to them as a way of helping them see its practical application to their own work;
· Ask participants to answer prepared questions about material just covered or to paraphrase (restate in their own words) what they just heard you say about the subject as a comprehension check before going on to new material;
· ive participants a handout that covers some aspect of the material being presented orally and include some blank spaces in the handout for their use in writing down their own interpretations or possible job applications of the material being discussed;
· Most important, use visual materials to supplement your oral presentations (primarily, flipcharts, chalkboards, and overhead projection equipment), thereby lengthening participant attention span, increasing the retention of new information, adding realism, and lessening the chance of your being misunderstood.
In summary, successful presentations are thoughtfully planned with four considertions in mind.
· First, they are brief, focused on a few key ideas from the essay material and paced to deliver the selected information in "bite-sized" chunks.
· Secondly, they are carefully designed to include provocative beginnings, convincing middles, and strong endings.
· Thirdly, they give participants ample opportunity through question and answer techniques to demonstrate their comprehension and to compare viewpoints and experiences with the trainer and with one another.
· Finally, successful presentations recognize the need of participants for multiple ways of accessing information by supplementing oral forms of information delivery with audio-visual aids;
One of the most effective methods available to you to get your participants more deeply involved in their own learning is through group discussion. Discussion is any interaction between two or more people on a topic of mutual interest. The types of discussion used in the Elected Leadership series are of two kinds depending on the role played by the trainer. In trainer-guided discussions, you take an active and direct part in guiding and directing the discussion. In what is sometimes called a structured discussion, you will be letting participants manage their own discussions following your guidelines.
In the trainer-guided discussion, the objective is to encourage participants to think about, relate to, and internalize new ideas related to a particular topic. These discussions are based on a predetermined set of questions which you prepare ahead of time to lead participants, one question at a time, toward a desired learning outcome. While usually planned as a way of processing case-study data, role-playing experiences, or other exercises, such discussions may occur spontaneously during a presentation or near the close of a workshop. How productive these discussions will be depends, to a great extent, on how experienced you are with the question-and-answer method and your knowledge of the subject under discussion.
In the so-called structured discussion, the objective is to engage participants in idea generation or problem solving relative to an assigned topic and to demonstrate the value of teamwork - interdependence. You need little subject-matter expertise to initiate a structured discussion. Normally, you will divide the participant group into several small groups of about equal size and assign the same or different tasks to each group. After tasks are assigned, a period of time is allowed for the small groups to discuss the task. You might want to give instructions to the small groups about appointing a leader, a reporter, and a timekeeper. At the end of the discussion phase, small groups are asked to come back together and to report their findings, sometimes written on flipchart paper which can be taped to a wall of the training room.
Sometimes, the focus of small group discussions is on the process of working together as well as the product of the group effort. There is much learning value in exploring relationships (patterns of interaction) among participants as they work together to solve a problem, decide on a course of action, or carry out some other task. You might decide to select one or two participants to be observers. They would be asked to monitor the process of interaction among participants as they work together on tasks, with the knowledge and consent of other group members, of course, and to feed back their observations and conclusions to the group when it has finished work on its assigned task.
In summary, the discussion method can stimulate participant involvement in the learning process. Trainer-guided discussions are of value principally in stimulating logical thinking. However, subject-matter expertise is required if you plan to lead such a discussion. Structured discussions, on the other hand, help participants become selfreliant, to develop team thinking and approaches, and to be less dependent on the trainer. Your role in discussions of this kind shifts to coach and interpreter. Through mutual exploration, struggle, and discovery, participants in small groups gain insight and the satisfaction that comes from having attained these insights.
Each of the handbooks in the Elected Leadership series consists of exercises and activities developed and sequenced to provide a comprehensive learning experience for councillors. A variety of activities (role plays, case studies, simulations, instruments, and so forth) have been put together in various combinations. This has been done to help councillor participants make sense out of the concepts and ideas being presented and heighten the probability they will be persuaded to use them to improve their performance in their many councillor roles. Developing and sequencing exercise material ahead of time has been done for another reason - to simplify your life as a trainer by providing you with a starting point for the design of workshops to train councillors in your own part of the world.
Later in this guide we will be discussing some of the specific types of structured exercises mentioned above. At this point, however, we want to share some perspectives on the use of exercises in general and to talk about three types not covered in detail elsewhere: (a) the warm-up exercise; (b) problem solving exercises; and (c) the learning transfer exercise.
The exercises of which the handbooks in this series are comprised, despite marked differences in subject matter, are all structured in the same way.
· Each exercise begins with an estimate of the time required. The times or time ranges are a generous estimate of the time it takes to complete the exercise based on actual field-test results. While staying with the published times is important, even more important is to be sure enough time is allowed for sharing and processing of information arising from the exercise. If it takes longer to complete an exercise than scheduled, you may be able to make it up elsewhere in the workshop or perhaps negotiate with the participants for additional time.
· The time estimate is followed by the exercise objective. Each objective is performance oriented; that is, it is meant to be a specific, realistic appraisal of what participants will know or be able to do as a result of their active participation in the exercise. The test of a good objective is that participants can understand it and see themselves capable of achieving it.
· Following the objective is a step-by-step procedure to be followed, indicating in detail what you are to do and say and what participants are to do in the appropriate sequence. We call this the process. Occasionally, the process will include variations or alternatives for your consideration, particularly if the exercise is to be used with participants who work together and may be interested in improving their team performance. A time estimate may be provided for various steps in the process.
· The process description is followed by any worksheets which are to be read or on which participants are expected to write. Typical worksheets are cases, role-play situations and role descriptions, instruments to be completed, questions to be answered by small groups, and other participant-involving things. Worksheets should have clear instructions and be easy for participants to read. All worksheets included in the handbooks are designed and intended for mass duplication.
Each workshop begins with a warm-up exercise. These exercises are transitional experiences, meant to serve as a bridge between the new ideas being presented in the workshop and the pre-existing knowledge and points of view that participants bring with them. A warm-up exercise in The Councillor as Policy-maker, for example, asks participants to reflect on their past experiences as councillors with making policy. Another in The Councillor as Communicator uses a puzzle to demonstrate the value of sharing different perceptions of the same situation. Still another in The Councillor as Decision-maker is to help participants interpret their own unique, personal ways of making a decision. Warm-ups, in other words, are the means by which you begin moving participants from the known to the unknown - to start the process of getting them acquainted as early into the workshop as possible with one another, the learning process, and you.
Several of the exercises make use of one of several well-known methods of group problem-solving. In each case, the intent is to pass along to workshop participants a working knowledge of a useful process and, at the same time, experience in using the process to carry out a role-relevant learning task. In The Councillor as Communicator, participants are introduced to brainstorming, perhaps the best known method in the world for generating ideas to solve a problem or make a decision. Participants in The Councillor as Leader are encouraged to use force field analysis as an analytical aid in planning ways to remove obstacles to the attainment of a leadership objective. And another well known method for idea generation called the nominal group technique is suggested to participants at the workshop on The Councillor as Financier as a useful structure for creating a list of ideas to raise revenue and lower cost.
Several of the workshops make use of councillor-relevant problems to stimulate the reasoning process. In several instances, participants are asked to read the problem or situation on their own and then, in small groups, to analyse the situation and to reach a decision or course of action which is reported during a plenary session. Examples include: evaluating the usefulness of a conventional negotiating strategy - The Councillor as Negotiator, resolving a potentially destructive interpersonal conflict - The Councillor as Facilitator, reviewing a financial statement for evidence of inconsistencies and speculating about their causes - The Councillor as Financier.
In several workshops, problem-solving activities are supported by worksheets that are to be filled out by participants working in small groups as an aid to analysis and for later reporting. Worksheets are useful for at least two reasons: (a) they provide a record of small group reactions to the assigned tasks, and (b) they give participants a written record of their small group's results to take home with them. Examples of worksheets used in the workshop series are: the generation of ideas for optional ways to deliver local government services - The Councillor as Enabler, a list of strategies for recognizing and lowering barriers to communication between councils and community groups - The Councillor as Communicator, and the development of a plan for monitoring the effectiveness of a local government service programme - The Councillor as Overseer.
At the other end of each workshop is a skill-transfer exercise. The exercise is the same for all the workshops. The intent is to reverse the process and begin the transition from the workshop environment back to the "real world" of participating councillors. It is important that before leaving the workshop participants begin making definite plans for trying out or changing certain aspects of their role performance as councillors. These plans are stronger to the degree that they are made in writing, realistically critiqued, and shared openly with other participants.
Under this heading we are placing two types of exercises used extensively in this handbook series: (a) the traditional case study as first used at Harvard University late in the nineteenth century, and (b) an abbreviated but potent version of the case study called the critical incident.
Traditional case studies
The case study is an actual or contrived situation, the facts from which may lead to conclusions or decisions that are generalizable to the real-life circumstances of those taking part in the exercise. Put another way, a case study is a story with a lesson. Cases used in training can take many forms. They may be quite long, complex, and detailed. Or they may be short and fairly straightforward similar to the one- to three-page variety found in the handbook series.
The case method assumes group discussion. The well constructed case stimulates participants to take a spirited role in analysing and offering opinions about: (a) who was to blame, (b) what caused a person to behave as he or she did, and (c) what should have been done to prevent or remedy the situation. The more important contributions of the case method to training include:
· Discouraging participants from making snap judgements about people and behaviour.
· Discouraging a search for the one "best answer."
· Illustrating graphically how the same set of events can be perceived differently by people with similar backgrounds.
· Encouraging workshop participants to discuss things with each other and to experience the broadening value of interaction.
· Emphasising the value of practical thinking.
Closely related to case studies, critical incidents are brief, written descriptions of difficult situations faced by people in their work or their personal lives. Because they involve real problems, problems of vital and immediate concern to people, processing of critical incidents can have enormous learning value for the individuals concerned and for others who are likely to face similar problems.
Critical incidents used in workshops come from several sources: (a) the workshop participants themselves; (b) participants in earlier workshops; (c) anecdotal information collected by the trainer through interviews and surveys; (d) secondary source material (journals, books, and manuals) on the topic; and (e) the trainer's fertile imagination. The critical incidents used in the workshop on The Councillor as Power Broker, for instance, were suggested by a trainer from Uganda who was involved in the initial field testing of the Elected Leadership training materials. His source was situations revealed to him by participants at other workshops in which he served as an instructor.
When preparing a critical incident for use in a workshop, there are several design ideas to keep in mind:
· Keep them short (several sentences is usually enough) and simple so they can be read and understood quickly by workshop participants.
· Because incidents are short, they need to be tied directly to the workshop's objectives.
· Irrelevant facts often added to case studies to help participants learn to separate important issues from unimportant ones should be omitted from critical incidents.
· Nevertheless, be sure to include enough detail about the problem to make the point the incident is meant to emphasize.
Workshop participants may be asked to write and discuss critical incidents of their own during the programme itself or in advance as a pre-training assignment.
The content of each incident is expected to have a direct relationship to the training topic. For example, the handbook on The Councillor as Negotiator includes a warm-up exercise which gives participants the task of recalling, writing down, and sharing their experiences (incidents) in negotiating something.
When asked to write a critical incident, participants usually are given a worksheet and instructions by the trainer. They are told to think of a difficult situation related to the training topic in which they were involved personally. They are asked to describe the situation in detail, who was involved in it, and the role they played. Depending upon how the incident is to be used, participants might be asked to explain what was done about the situation, the consequences of this, and how they felt about it.
In summary, case studies and critical incidents present workshop participants with examples of actual work situations with which they are familiar. The realism of the more extensive case studies and the direct involvement of participants in them can serve as a powerful inducement for the acceptance of new ideas and ways of thinking. Critical incidents, whether created on the spot or provided by the trainer, have highly relevant learning value for workshop participants who face similar challenges in their own roles.
Role playing involves asking workshop participants to assume parts of other real or imaginary persons and to carry out conversations and behave as if they were these individuals. The intent is to give participants the chance to practice with new behaviours believed appropriate for their work roles, and so they can experience the effect of behaving this way on themselves and on others who are playing related roles. It is generally believed that on-the-job application of new behaviours increases to the extent that people are willing to try out and evaluate the new behaviours under supervised training conditions. Few training methods offer so effective a way to encourage experimentation with new behaviours than role playing.
To help role playing achieve its greatest benefit as an inducement for genuine behaviour change is to couple it with the case study method. After reading and discussing a case, participants can be invited to step into the roles of the individuals introduced to them in the case situation. Realism is enhanced when detailed role descriptions are developed for each of the role players. Examples of role-playing case studies with detailed role descriptions that were developed for the Elected Leadership series are: (a) a situation involving privatization of public markets in The Councillor as Facilitator, and (b) a situation concerning a dispute over use of a bulldozer in The Councillor as Negotiator.
Most people feel some discomfort in a first experience with role playing. But, in time and with experience, most begin to enjoy the process. Some people, however, seem to be unable to play roles. The best they can do is talk about what a person in that role might do or say. When these people are found during a workshop, do not compel them to participate or embarrass them for refusing to do so.
In other words, you set the tone for role playing. It is your job to provide firm direction when moving a group into role playing. You establish ground rules and the boundaries of good taste. It is up to you to cut off the role playing at any time that it begins to lose its realism and, hence, its learning value. Here are some useful steps to take in setting up and directing a role play.
Introduce the setting for the role play and the people who will be represented in the various roles. If names are not given, encourage role players to use their own names or provide them with suitable names for the roles they will be playing (e.g., "The Allocation Decision," in The Councillor as Decision-maker).
Check to be sure participants are found to play the various parts. Coach them until you are satisfied they understand the "point of view" represented by each part. Participants may be asked to volunteer for roles, or you may attempt to volunteer them for roles in a good-natured way.
Ask participants who play roles to comment on what they have learned from the experience.
Ask other participants to give critical feedback to the role players.
In summary, role playing is a highly interactive, participant-centred activity that, combined with the case-study method, can yield the benefits of both. When the case situations and role descriptions closely represent real-life conditions, role playing can have a powerful impact on a councillor's perception of a challenge or opportunity. The new attitudes and behaviours that may result have a good chance of being carried over by participants to their roles as councillors.
An effective way to dramatize real-life situations is to simulate or recreate them in a workshop setting. Simulations are simplified models of a process that is to be learned. Through simulation, workshop participants can experience what it is like to take part in the process and can experience their own behaviours relative to it in a safe environment, thereby avoiding many of the risks associated with real-life experimentation.
Simulations are sometimes used to involve participants in the manipulation of physical objects to study how they make decisions. One example is being asked to work as a team member on the construction of a tower under time and resource restrictions in competition with other teams. The intent is to examine questions of planning, organization, and the assumption of leadership within newly-formed teams. Another example is being asked to make quick decisions, as a newly-appointed manager, on how to delegate or otherwise dispose of a stack of correspondence left behind by a previous manager (an in-basket exercise). The intent of this kind of simulation is to investigate how an individual sets priorities, delegates authority, and generally manages time.
In The Councillor as Decision-maker, workshop participants are confronted with a simulated town council meeting at which a decision must be made on the use of a large sum of money in the face of strongly contrasted and competing demands from various community groups. This simulation is meant to explore the way decisions are made in relation to certain models of decision-making. As with role plays and case studies, simulations depend for their learning value on the authenticity of the situations and the degree of realism provided by participants taking part. What has been said earlier in the guide about setting up the situation and being sure everyone knows what he or she is supposed to be doing applies equally to your trainer role in producing successful simulations.
In summary, simulations are workshop representations of situations likely to face participants in their real-life roles. They allow participants to practice with new ways of doing things and learn more about their own behaviour in role-relevant situations with a minimum of personal or professional risk.
An instrument is any device that contains questions or statements relative to an area of interest to which participants are instructed to respond in some way. Instruments are quite versatile. They include questionnaires, checklists, inventories, and other non-clinical measuring devices. Normally, instruments focus on a particular subject about which workshop participants have an interest in learning. They produce a set of data by which participants can study themselves, intra- and interpersonally, toward the discovery of new behaviours they may want to investigate further during the workshop.
The handbook series on Elected Leadership is replete with instruments of many types and for many purposes. For example, a checklist on preferred modes of decision making is provided as a warm-up exercise for participants at a workshop on The Councillor as Decision-maker. In The Councillor as Policy-maker, participants are asked to decide whether each of 16 statements are problems, goals, policies, or strategies. In another 16-item instrument (checklist), participants at a workshop on The Councillor as Overseer are asked to identify overseer behaviours they believe should be practiced by their own councils. In a more complex questionnaire, participants at a workshop on The Councillor as Financier are asked to rate 16 statements about revenue and expenditure problems on a high-low numerical scale including factors of urgency and importance and to sum the results for each statement.
There is a major distinction between just "giving" an instrument and using it properly - getting the most value out of it in relation to the goals of the learning experience and the needs of the participants. In a workshop, there are four steps for making effective use of an instrument: administration, theory input, scoring, and interpretation.
Step 1: Administration
Distribute the instrument and tell the participants that you will read the instructions to them. Read the instructions out loud while the participants read along silently.
Step 2: Theory input
When participants have completed the instrument, discuss the theory underlying the instrument and what it measures.
Step 3: Scoring
A common way to score an instrument is to read the correct answers to the participants, tell them how to combine the numbers, and, in general, talk them through the scoring procedure.
Step 4: Interpretation
It is generally effective to have participants post their scores on chart paper. They may be formed into small groups to discuss their scores. Special attention should be given to the meaning of low and high scores and discrepancies between actual and estimated scores, if estimating is done. Participants may be asked if they were surprised by their scores or other participant's scores.
In summary, instruments are used to derive information directly from the experience of workshop participants themselves. Owing to the personal nature of the feedback, instruments are an extraordinarily high-voltage method for focusing participants on specific behaviours and the impact of these behaviours on others and on the situations they face in their councillor roles.
To conclude Part I of this guide, we have included the following table that cross references the seven training methods described above with the 11 role-specific handbooks that comprise the Training for Elected Leadership series.
Training methods used in the handbook series shown by method and councillor role
In other parts of this guide we have made suggestions to help you prepare for a workshop on training for elected leadership. We have described the various components of the various workshop designs with more suggestions on their respective purposes and uses as aids to councillor learning. Now, we want to offer a few more suggestions on your role in performing some of the most important training delivery tasks during the course of a workshop. We use the term "managing" to emphasise that the trainer's role is more than simply to serve up information for the participants' consumption. It involves managing the process by which the participants digest the information and make plans to use it in their various roles as elected officials.
In deciding what to include and what to exclude from this discussion, we've had to make some hard choices. Therefore, we have narrowed the topics to be covered to these four:
· delivering information,
· giving instructions,
· monitoring small group activities,
· facilitating small group reporting.
Earlier in this guide we described the presentation as a key component of each of the workshop designs. Involving participants in the presentation through questionand-answer and embellishing the presentation with audio-visual materials and handouts were emphasized as important ways to increase participant interest, comprehension, and acceptance.
It stands to reason that the more familiar you are with the subject of the presentation, the more confident you will be in yourself and the more effective you will be in reaching your participants. What you include in your presentation should be a combination of several things:
· material contained in the essay that makes up Part I of each handbook,
· your own ideas and experiences about the subject, and
· culture-specific anecdotes, illustrations, and incidents, whenever possible, to add realism and local colour.
Reduce your presentation to notes written on cards, numbered consecutively to prevent mix-ups. Don't memorize your material. But, don't read it either. Practice your presentation until you feel comfortable using your notes as an occasional reference rather than a script.
Be flexible about staying within the time alloted for your presentation. The decision to adjust the programme to be longer or shorter is up to you with the concurrence of your participants. If you say everything that needs to be said in less time than is shown on the schedule, ask some questions to be sure you have got your points across successfully. If you have, stop. Don't repeat yourself. If you find, instead, that it is taking you longer than planned to finish your presentation, it is possible that you are being overly repetitive. You may be losing the interest of your participants. On the other hand, if a stimulating discussion is going on, and you think this is contributing to workshop objectives, let it continue. Just remember that you will have to make up the time somewhere else in the workshop.
Finally, we would like to offer several tips for successful presentations that will be useful to you in conducting workshops.
· Avoid using cliches, jargon, or "buzzwords" that are familiar to you but may not be understood by your participants.
· Watch out for distractions that could break your participants' concentration such as jingling coins in your pocket or leaving unrelated materials on a flipchart.
· Maintain eye contact with participants in all parts of the room.
· Announce two-minute stretch breaks occasionally when you sense that participants might need them.
· Restate essential points frequently to reinforce the continuity of your material and to aid comprehension.
· Use pauses to emphasise important points or to encourage participants to offer questions or ideas of their own.
· Avoid distracting body language like shifting your weight from side to side, pacing back and forth excessively, folding or unfolding your arms, or stationing yourself behind a podium. Stand when making your presentation and position yourself, as much as possible, to avoid having tables, the podium, or other objects between you and your participants.
· Face your participants at all times. Even when writing on a flipchart or chalk board, stand on the side of the writing surface nearest the hand with which you are doing the writing. In other words, don't carry on a conversation with the flipchart.
· During breaks, move materials or equipment, review the schedule for the next segment of the workshop, and be available to talk with participants. However, don't let these conversations prevent you from starting on time after the break.
· Avoid language, jokes, or stories that might offend anyone attending the workshop.
The 11-workshop series consists of many exercises all designed to help workshop participants discover role-relevant knowledge for themselves. This means you will frequently have to give directions or instructions. If participants don't know what is expected of them in an exercise or if they feel what they are being asked to do makes no sense, the learning process will be impaired.
Most authorities on giving instructions agree on a powerful principle - begin the instruction by giving participants a rationale for the task or exercise. When participants know why they are being asked to do something, they will be far more interested in learning how. Beginning with the rationale, giving good instructions can be viewed as a simple, four-step process.
Introduce the exercise by giving a rationale. This should include the objective of the exercise and anything else you might add to help participants see the importance of the exercise from their point of view. In giving the rationale for a role-playing exercise, for example you might say, A role is not like a part in a play in which you are trying to act like someone else. When you play a role in a role-playing exercise, you are just being yourself - doing just what you would see yourself doing, acting just as you would act if you found yourself in this kind of situation. By just being yourself in the role, you get a first hand experience that will help you should you be faced with a situation like this back home.
Explain the task. Describe what participants will be doing. Usually the task of a small group is to produce a product. Use active verbs to describe the product such as, "list the three most important ... " or "describe an incident in which you were involved that ... " Make the transition from the rationale for the task to the explanation as smoothly as possible. For example, you might continue from your rationale for a role playing exercise by saying, "To help you get into your role, read the background situation in your handbook and read the description of the role you have volunteered to play. "
Specify the context. It is important for participants to know the limits of the task before they begin - who they will be working with, under what conditions and for how long. The context of the exercise spells out how they will be accomplishing the task. Most of the activity called for by the various workshops in the Elected Leadership series is done in small groups. The optimum number for each small group is usually specified at some point in the exercise description. To specify the context for a role-playing exercise, you might say, "You are the spokesperson for your citizen group. You are competing with two other groups for a large sum of money which the town council has been given for this purpose. In 15 minutes, you will be asked to enter the council room and present to the town council your group's reasons for believing that the council should allocate a large sum of money to your group. You will have access to a flipchart and will have five minutes to make your presentation. "
Reporting. The task of reporting begins when individuals or members of a small group have completed an assigned task. Reporting adds greatly to the learning value of an exercise. The purpose of reporting is not just to explain what happened. Instead, the purpose is to advance the process of learning - by allowing participants to share their experiences with one another, hopefully enabling them to expand, integrate and generalize learning from their individual or small group experiences. This reporting activity is sometimes called "sharing" or "processing." For example, a small group about to begin a task might be told, 'Appoint someone as a timekeeper to keep track of the time remaining. Also, choose a spokesperson who should be ready to share your list of ideas with other groups on a chartpad when you return to the plenary session. "
You may give most of your instructions orally. Sometimes, however, it is useful to provide participants with a handout containing the instructions. They can even be written on a flipchart or displayed on an overhead transparency. This method is particularly useful when a task is complicated or has several parts.
After giving a group of workshop participants their instructions for a small group task you can take it easy - read a magazine or something until they report back. If you think this is right, then you have more thinking to do. When participants are busy at the tasks you have assigned them, you need to be busy keeping track of how their work is progressing. We call this monitoring. It is important for two reasons:
· It gives you feedback on how well participants know what they are supposed to be doing and how committed they are to the task. If you sense confusion, misdirection, or misinterpretation in a group, this may be your cue to restate the task, perhaps by paraphrasing the original instructions or augmenting them with an example.
· It helps you to adjust the time needed for the task. Even the best, most thoroughly field-tested workshop design will require some adjustments in the amount of time it takes to complete certain tasks. Each participant group is different. Therefore, your concern should be with assuring a small group enough time for the exercise to gain the most learning value for its members.
When you have given small groups their instructions, stand quietly and wait until they have convened and have gotten underway on the task. Then you can relax briefly and spend a few minutes preparing for the next activity. After a few minutes, circulate to find out how things are going. Enter the work area quietly, being careful not to interrupt. If you are asked questions, and you usually will be, answer them briefly. If one small group's questions suggest there may be confusion in the other groups, then interrupt the others and re-phrase appropriate parts of the task for all of them.
As the groups proceed with the task, there are several questions about their activities that you may want to answer:
· How have the participants arranged themselves? Is this arrangement conducive to participation by all the members or are some participants isolated?
· Are there any changes in the noise level in the group? These changes may indicate that a group has finished its task or rather that it is getting down to work.
· From little pieces of conversations or words being used, do participants seem to be working on the task or are they engaged in idle conversation? If participants are discussing matters unrelated to the task, they may be finished or they may be avoiding the task.
· How much time is left? From the amount of work that has been done, are participants behind, ahead, or on schedule? If time is running out but participants are still working intently, it may be more desirable to give them more time. When you notice that some groups are finished and others are not, you might offer a time check - "You have two minutes left," for example. State whatever amount of time you think it will take for all the groups to finish without creating a lot of down time for groups that have already completed their tasks.
By reporting, we do not mean a detailed, "this is what we did during our meeting" recital. Rather, the term "reporting" is intended to mean a sort of disclosure or revelation, a way of sharing the most important observations and conclusions of the time spent by a small group on a task.
Logistics are an important aspect of facilitating small group reporting. If you have made it clear that small group reports will be expected, the issue of selecting a spokesperson will probably take care of itself. You can appoint someone or leave it to the group to select someone as its spokesperson. The first time that small groups are used there may be some confusion, so it may be best to appoint someone ahead of time. Leave it to the group to make its own selection when its members become more familiar with the process.
Time is also an issue in reporting - it can be very time-consuming. One way to control the time is by restricting the reports in some way. For example, you can have each group report two or three items from its list rather than to take the time to report every item. Another approach to reporting is to have each small group examine and report on a different aspect of the same topic. Finally, where small groups have been working on the same task and some kind of synthesis or consensus is needed, a polling procedure can be used. One way to poll a plenary session consisting of several small groups is to have each small group place its recommendations on a sheet of newsprint which is posted for all to see. When all the sheets are posted and reviewed, participants can be asked to choose one of the recommendations and asked to give their reasons for choosing as they did.
Three skills are required to facilitate the reporting process effectively:
1. Asking initiating and clarifying questions
To help initiate and clarify group reports, you need to be able to ask direct, but not leading, questions. These should be open-ended questions, usually beginning with what, when, where, how, or why, such as, "What are the implications of this method for your councillor role"?
This is important to be sure you are actually hearing what the participant meant you to hear. Your objective is to convince the participant that you are listening and that you are eager to know if you have heard correctly. For example, if someone reports that, "Councillors have difficulty doing the right thing," you might paraphrase or restate what you heard for clarification by saying, "You mean councillors know the right thing to do but often find it difficult to get it implemented. "
While paraphrasing is meant to mirror the meaning with a change of words, summarizing is to synthesize or condense a report to its essentials. The intent, once again, is to test for understanding. Efforts by a trainer to summarize or boil down information to its essentials might begin with phrases like:
"In other words .... "
"If I understand what you are saying, you mean ...."
"In summary, then, you feel ...."
This information has been included in the guide to help you be more successful in the actual delivery of training. While success can't be guaranteed, there are some things you can do to improve the odds. Among these are being more flexible in delivering information, more precise in giving instructions, more available and less intrusive in monitoring small group activities, and getting more mileage out of small group reporting.
This final part of the Trainer's Guide is being used for the two remaining resources we have to offer trainers who wish to conduct training for local elected leaders using any of the handbooks in the Elected Leadership series. These resources include:
1. Trainer's notes that include scoring keys, handouts,
rationales, and suggestions.
2. Sources of published information for the trainer who wants to learn more about training and the trainer's role.
To a large extent, each of the workshops in the handbook series is a selfcontained training package. Each is designed to provide participant readings and trainer concept material for developing presentations (the essays), instructions for both the trainer and participants in carrying out exercises, descriptions of roles and case situations, and worksheets for completing individual and small group tasks. However, there are some materials that have been excluded from the handbooks and placed in Part V of this guide for the trainer's use at the appropriate time and place. We call them trainer's notes. Each of these trainer's notes is described below along with its reason for being placed in this guide and labeled to identify the workshop and exercise to which it pertains.
Handbook No. 2, The Councillor as Policy-maker, Exercise 2.2, A Policy-maker's Quiz
Trainer's note. Just below is the key for scoring the policy-maker's quiz. Either use it as a handout or post the correct response to each of the 16 statements on a chartpad.
1 = problem
9 = goal
2 = strategy
10 = goal
3 = strategy
11 = problem
4 = goal
12 = strategy
5 = policy
13 = policy
6 = problem
14 = policy
7 = goal
15 = strategy
8 = policy
16 = problem
Handbook No. 3, The Councillor as Decision-maker, Exercise 3.4, Simulation: The Allocation Decision
Trainer's note. This exercise on allocating funds among competing interests could be used to add a financial policy dimension and increase the length of a workshop on The Councillor as Financier by 120 minutes.
The United States dollar, which is recognized worldwide, has been selected for the simulation rather than the rupee or shilling which vary in value from country to country. However, you may substitute any appropriate national currency.
Handbook No. 4, The Councillor as Communicator, Exercise 4.1, Warmup Exercise: How Many Squares Do You See?
Trainer's note. Councillors participating in this exercise always see different numbers of squares. The numbers perceived and reported will vary from as few as 16 to as many as 30. As shown below in the exercise key, the largest number of squares that participants will report is 30. After all participants have reported on the number of squares they see, the trainer can use the key to show how a participant might perceive as many as 30 squares in the original figure.
One objective of the exercise is to recognize the value of feedback as a means for correcting first impressions. From the reports of participants who perceive a larger number of squares, participants who see fewer squares are motivated to engage in additional inquiry to discover what they overlooked the first time. Getting people to take a second look is an important step in demonstrating that differences can stimulate thinking and avoid the tendency to accept the first idea that comes along. Participants can be encouraged to take a second look if the trainer does not permit discussion of the origin of the number of squares until all participants have reported on how many squares they see.
Another objective of the exercise is to show that reality is in the eye of the beholder, and that individuals in a group may perceive an object, a person, or an event in very different ways. With this in mind, the trainer's task is to accept all answers about the number of squares reported simply as data and not judge any of them as right or wrong, good or bad. Non-judgemental trainer behaviour helps participants see the value in differing points of view rather than in only a single right answer (e.g., seeing only 16 squares is bad, but 30 is good).
Shown below is a key that shows the various combinations of squares that can be found by participants who take part in the exercise. Silent reporting by each participant and public reporting of results by the trainer avoids embarrassment to anyone. It also ensures truthfulness in reporting since it gets the "real" answers out before the larger numbers are revealed.
Key count the squares
Handbook No. 6, The Councillor as Enabler, Exercise 6.1, Warm-up Exercise, The Nine Dots.
Trainer's note. This is an exercise in creative thinking. Most participants attempt to solve the problem by drawing lines within the boundaries formed by the nine dots. They soon become frustrated and experience a mental block. A few participants will recognize the futility in this approach. They will seek the solution by going outside the boundaries of the nine-dot figure. Eventually, these participants will find the answer which is shown in the figure below (the key).
A typical response of participants on seeing the solution is, "Aha"! But, why couldn't we see that?" They couldn't see it because they were, like so many of us are when faced with complex problems, confined in a straitjacket of conventional thinking.
The nine-dot exercise serves as a reminder that councillors are often faced with problems that can't be solved with conventional thinking. Therefore, it is necessary for them, at times, to extend their minds "beyond the boundaries" of the situation to find the answer.
Handbook No. 7, The Councillor as Negotiator, Exercise 7.5, Role Play/ Case Study: Hawker/Council Confrontation.
Trainer's note. Information for the two conflicting roles has been prepared as duplicatible handout material. On the next page is information on the position of the city council and on the following page information on the hawker's position. Give council and hawker role players only the handout that pertains to their respective roles.
Handbook No. 8, The Councillor as Financier, Exercise 8.4, Case Study: Unintentional Tax Assessment Policy
Trainer's note. This exercise on neglect in making policy could be used to add another aspect of learning about policy-making and would increase the length of a workshop on The Councillor as Policy-maker by about 90 minutes.
The city leaders, and particularly the city council, are anxious to have a successful conference, free of unnecessary noise, hawking, begging, and street congestion. They have asked the hawkers, through their representatives, to abandon the streets during the conference. These discussions have not been successful. In fact, the vendor representatives have threatened to stage demonstrations and carry out other acts of militancy if the council denies them the right to operate during the conference. The council is deeply concerned about these threats. It wants to maintain good relations with the hawkers but is determined to keep them from interfering with its plans for a successful conference.
One of the councillors recently attended a workshop on a technique for negotiating agreement regarded highly by international business and government leaders. The technique is known as principled negotiation. After an explanation of the process and its advantages, the council agrees to make use of the new technique in its dealings with the street vendor representatives.
The hawkers want full and continuous access to conference participants during their stay in Khulla. They fear the city council will deny them this access by forcing them to abandon the streets and, consequently, lose out on a rare and substantial source of profit. They see the council as unbelievably rigid and unfair on this point. Through their representatives they are determined to protect their rights any way they must - if necessary, by deliberate acts of militancy against the police and even the conference goers. In general, their strategy is to demand that the council leave the hawkers alone during the conference to run their businesses as usual or suffer painful consequences.
For ideas on training techniques and the trainer's role
American Society of Training and Development, Training and Development Handbook, 3rd ed. (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1987). Considered by many to be the foundation text for trainers world-wide. Hundreds of pages covering every conceivable aspect of the training task.
Becker, Christine, So Now You're a Trainer: A Practical Guide for Practical Trainers (Washington, D.C., International City Management Association, 1979). A primer for new trainers covering ways to plan, schedule, and design training programmes.
Human Resource Development Annuals, 1972-1994 (San Diego, CA., Pfeiffer and Company). Unquestionably the most comprehensive and versatile collection of training resources ever assembled. A new annual comes out each year containing new lecturettes, structured experiences, and instruments. Expensive. Ideal for the trainer who wants it all and can afford it. Annuals available in loose-leaf and paperbound formats.
Margolis, Fredric H. and Bell, Chip R., Managing the Learning Process (Minneapolis, MN, Lakewood Publications, 1984). Basic; good stuff for trainers looking for step-by-step guidance on the conduct of training.
McLagan, Patricia A. Helping Others Learn: Designing Programs For Adults (Reading, MA., Addison-Wesley, 1978). A workbook for trainers on creating their own learning designs.
Newstrom, John W. and Scannell, Edward E., Games Trainers Play (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1980). Packed with over 100 games and exercises to help trainers break the ice with a new group. Recent series additions include More Games Trainers Play and Still More Games Trainers Play.
Pike, Robert W., Creative Training Techniques Handbook (Minneapolis, MN, Lakewood Publications, 1989). One of the best sources of information on how to give powerful presentations.
UNCHS (Habitat) publications on training programme design including Guide for Designing Effective Human Settlements Training Programmes, Manual for Training Needs Assessment in Human Settlements Organizations, and A Guide to National Training Needs Assessment for Human Settlements: A Competencybased Approach. (See p. 73 for annotations on these publications.)
2. For ideas on problem solving and creative thinking
Adams, James L., Conceptual Blockbusting (Reading, MA., Addison-Wesley, 1986).
de Bono, Edward, Lateral Thinking (New York, Harper-Colophon, 1973).
Delbecq, Andre L., Van de yen, Andrew, and Gustafson, David H. Group Techniques for Program Planning (Glenview, IL., Scott-Foresman and Co., 1975). The most complete discussion of the Nominal Group Technique available.
Koberg, Don and Bagnall, Jim, The Universal Traveler, (Los Altos, CA, New Horizons Ed., 1991). A compendium of creative ideas processes and problem solving techniques.
Oech, Roger von, A Whack On The Side Of The Head (New York, Warner Books, Inc., 1982).
Osborn, Alex F., Applied Imagination (New York, Scribner's, 1954). Basics on the development and use of brainstorming in an older book written by the creator of the technique.
Zemke, Ron, and Kramlinger, Tom, Figuring Things Out: A Trainers Guide to Needs and Task Analysis (Reading, MA., Addison-Wesley, 1987).
3. For more specialized needs of trainers
Anderson, Ronald H., Selecting and Developing Media for Instruction (2nd ea.) (New York, Van Nostrand, Reinhold, 1983).
Horn, R., and Cleaves, H., The Guide to Simulation Games for Education and Training, 4th ed. (Beverly Hills, CA., Sage Publications, 1980).
Maier, Norman R.F., Solem, A.R., and Maier, A.A., The Role Playing Technique: A Handbook for Management and Leadership Practice (San Diego, CA., University Associates, 1975).
Pfeiffer, William J., and Heslin, Richard, Instrumentation in Human Relations Training (San Diego, CA., University Associates, 1973).
Srinivasan, Lyra, Tools for Community Participation: A Manual for Training Trainers in Participatory Techniques (New York, PROWLWESS/UNDP, 1990).
UNCHS (Habitat) publication Guide for Managing Change for Urban Managers and Trainers. (See p. 73 for annotation.)
4. For trainers interested in case study material
International City Management Association, Managing Local Government: Cases in Decision Making (Washington, D.C., ICMA, 1990).
Meyer, Kenneth C., et. al., Practising Public Management: A Casebook (New York. St. Martin's Press. 1983).
5. For trainers who want to take advantage of UNCHS (Habitat) training publications
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Guide for Designing Effective Human Settlements Training Programmes (Nairobi, UNCHS, 1991). A basic guide for trainers who want practical details on how to design and conduct training, including a detailed trainer's tool kit.
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Guide for Managing Change for Urban Managers and Trainers (Nairobi, UNCHS, 1989). A book of concepts about managing the change process in government organizations with trainer notes on how to plan, implement, and manage the various training events.
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Manual for Training Needs Assessment in Human Settlements Organizations (Nairobi, UNCHS, 1987). A systematic method for assessing organizational training needs following a unique step-by-step approach.
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), A Guide to National Training Needs Assessment for Human Settlements: A Competency-based Approach (Nairobi, UNCHS, 1992). A guide for building capacity within a developing country to assess, at a national level, the training needs of administrative, professional, and technical personnel concerned with human settlements.
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Manual
for Collaborative Organizational Assessment in Human Settlements Organizations
(Nairobi, UNCHS, 1992). A step-by-step guide for analysing the effectiveness and
efficiency of day-to-day performance in agencies and authorities responsible for
providing public goods and services based on participatory management concepts